Five women accuse journalist Mark Halperin of sexual harassment in a new report from CNN. The women, who shared their stories on condition of anonymity, describe varying offenses—including forcible kissing, groping, and being propositioned for sex—while 52-year-old Halperin was political director at ABC News a decade ago. Three of the women also say Halperin pressed up against them with an erection while clothed. Halperin, now an NBC News analyst, denies that claim in a statement, but admits "I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me." He says, "I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize."
In its own statement, NBC News calls the allegations "very troubling" and says Halperin will be removed as contributor "until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood." Meanwhile, ABC News notes "no complaints were filed" against Halperin before his departure from ABC in 2007. One of the women who spoke to CNN, however, says she told her mentor at ABC when Halperin forcibly kissed her, grabbed her breasts, and pressed his penis against her in his office. The mentor told her he wanted to notify management, the woman says, though it isn't clear if he ever did. Other accusers say they feared retribution if they spoke out, given Halperin's authority at ABC and in political journalism more broadly. Some still fear retribution, per CNN.